PAXAus2016 day 1 round up

Thanks to PAXAus for a great day 1 of the 2016 gaming expo. I enjoyed it although I was working. To be able to say “I enjoyed working” is a great thing.

I arrived shortly after 9 am at last year’s media booth only to find that PAX’s Twitter rep LIED. LIED I SAY. The Twitter rep said the media booth was in the same location as last year but it wasn’t, it was on the opposite end of the Jeff’s Shed–Convention Centre duo and up one floor.

The amazing Convention Centre staff (the people in the black pants, white shirts and red waistcoats) directed me to the right room. Thanks, guys and gals.

They also helped me secure a medical pass: if you have a disability, PAX provides medical passes to allow you to sit comfortably on chairs or padded benches while waiting for panels to start. Then they let people with medical passes enter halls a few minutes before the crowds, so we can choose seating that best suits our disabilities. This is one of the many reasons I say that PAX is Australia’s most accessible geek convention.

Between Convention Centre staff and PAX enforcers, the area is well-policed (I didn’t experience any problems and I don’t know of anyone who did) and staff were always on hand to direct me to where I needed to go. Look around blankly hoping for an elevator to appear and lo, a staff member pointed the way. Set off in search of a particular theatre and YAY, someone pointed the way.

Cruising around with a video camera propped up on my shoulder isn’t the easiest of methods to view an expo but I did it! One interview on the floor even ‘happened’ (the guy I interviewed practically lept out at me and dragged me to his computer 😉 ) before the long lines of geek gamers entered the hall.

Some more interviews spontaneously combusted later, I just hope the audio isn’t too bad with the background sound level picking up as people entered the hall. We’ll see what the editing minion can do. On the up side, I have contact details and plans to talk to some of these people after PAX so we’ll be able to hear them then.

I attended four panels today and, with permission, video recorded them all so they’ll be online later. These panels were about indie game development, accessibility for disabled gamers, developing a Lego version of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie trailer (to advertise the Lego line) and ethics within games. Every panel was interesting and engaging.

Plastic Wax, the people who were contracted to create the Lego Star Wars ad, were the funniest and most charming. (Plastic Wax should make the next Lego Movie, people. Get on it. Lobby for them.)

I could have attended more panels but it’s a big weekend and, until about 4:30, I was flying solo, carrying 10 to 15 kilos of camera gear as well as personal paraphernalia, and attempting the video recording.

It hit 6:05 pm and the minion and I went for dinner at Sea on Quay, a nice little fish and chip shop just over a footbridge opposite the convention centre. I adore their John Dory with its lemon and herb flavoring in the grilled version and they make their pumpkin and spinach salad without feta when I asked. Then a two to five minute walk and I was back at the hotel, ready to collapse for the night.

Friday night celebrations? All you young things can party all night at your after-PAX parties while I catch some ZZZZs and beat you in tomorrow morning. My first interview is at 9 am and I plan to hit the gym before that! Good night all and have fun.

PAX Australia’s program is here.

Ray Cripps is working on a game about anxiety to help people. He recently won an award for a game about healthy eating and exercise. He’s studying at @nsigames

A photo posted by Nalini Haynes (@dark_matter_zine) on

Watch this guy (above); he’s representing Australia in an international computer game development competition AND he’s already created TWO games about health issues: one at a game jam about healthy eating and the one he demo’d today is an adventure game for people suffering anxiety and those who want to understand them better. I will be talking to him again, with better sound (not in a hall full of gamers geeking).